Monday, April 27, 2009

Parents' Visit, Au Thé de Pékin

My parents came for a visit last week. They'd spent some time in Brussels before, so were willing to skip the usual tourist destinations. We spent a lot of the week scouring open-air food markets, as my parents are possibly even more serious about food than I am. (They were super-psyched to find herring matjes and an abundance of white asparagus.) One thing that's funny about my parents is that, almost 40 years after emigrating to the United States from Taiwan, they still cannot travel without seeking out Chinese food. So a trip to Brussels Chinatown was mandatory - for a meal, and to set me up with a local purveyor of Chinese supermarket foods. Before their visit, I had gotten by with visits to Super Store Tagawa (Chaussée de Vleurgat, 119) but was eager to find both a Chinese supermarket and go-to restaurant. As usual, the 'rents delivered: we had a fantastic meal at Au Thé de Pékin (Rue de la Vierge Noire, 16-24), and I will be going to the smelly (and thus authentic?) Kam Yuen (Rue de la Vierge Noire, 2-4) for all future Chinese cooking needs.

At Au Thé de Pékin, I would stick with the non-dim sum menu; I read somewhere that all dim sum in Brussels is frozen and brought here from Paris, although I don't know whether this is true of ATP's. What I do know is that they don't bring it around steaming on carts, but that's probably due to lack of volume and demand. That being said, the dim sum assortment for two was perfectly passable and included some verifiably juicy xiao long bao (loosely translated, little juicy buns). In even better form were the gan cao niu he (stir-fried wide rice noodles with beef), kong xin cai (sautéed water spinach), ji ding (chicken) with cashew, and shrimp with vegetables. My mom even went so far as to pronounce the dishes "possibly better than Joe's Shanghai," our predictable but trustworthy New York mainstay. I agree, except for the xiao long bao.


Alana said...

Is Pekin french for Pekinese?

maisie said...

I think it means Peking, and "Pékinois" = Pekin(g)ese.